Programme profile

SDVC Bangladesh: Strengthening the Dairy Value Chain

Programme Index Listing

Main implementer
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
2013 - 2016 (Phase 2)
Total budget
USD $3.9 million
Annual budget
USD $1.3 million
External links
CARE website

Project description / objective

The SDVC programme sought to double the monthly income of small-scale producers in Bangladesh, creating more sustainable livelihoods for dairy farmers by incorporating them into a strengthened dairy value chain.

Market systems focus


A high proportion of poor rural households in Bangladesh are already involved in dairy enterprises. Women play an important role, due the convenience of looking after cows close to their homes, and a cultural legacy that values their engagement in this economic activity.

Due to growing urban demand for fresh milk, there is increasing investment in dairy infrastructure and processing capacity across the private sector. Hence CARE saw a potential to double the income of households living in poverty.

Programme interventions


Training services
Improving productivity. SDVC provided training and education for 36,000 farmers and 1,162 producers groups so participants could increase the productivity of their cows and improve their marketing skills. It also worked with service providers at milk collection facilities and input supply shops so they could provide training for producers over the longer term, leading to a more sustainable, market-based training and input system.

It also helped milk collection points pilot and use technologies that would improve dairy production, such as fat testers, cooling equipment, and transport. Those technologies then became part of the market system as owners of milk collection points used them in the long term

Access to inputs
SDVC created a network of women-owned small businesses that brought essential inputs - such as feed, medicines, and artificial insemination - to the communities. This micro-franchise model turned into its own set of businesses: Krishi Utsho. They were also linked to savings institutions.

Access to markets
SDVC worked with 308 milk collectors and 201 livestock workers to produce quality products and gain market access by having better access to information and resources, and connecting to more stable purchasing options like Aarong Dairy. This project taught critical lessons about making markets more inclusive.

Notable results (systemic change, poverty impact)

System change

  • Small businesses provided services and earned income
    By the end of the programme, there were 48 shops operating under the Krishi Utsho network, including 15 fully branded shops and 33 shops at various stages of conversion. Each Krishi Utsho shop recorded average monthly sales of $1,285 in June 2014, which were the highest monthly sales in the last fiscal year.
  • Farmers had links to markets
    The project focused on working with private sector companies, especially BRAC dairy, in order to establish upward market linkages for producers. Most farmers adopted a strategy in which they sold to multiple buyers to ensure that they could sell their milk consistently and at fair prices. This flexibility allows farmers to be resilient despite the inconsistency of formal sector buyers, and to cope when geography and climate may limit access to formal sector processors or when formal sector demand is lower.
  • Production improved
    On average, Digital Fat Testing (DFT) milk collectors’ income increased from $157 to $288, an increase of 83 per cent over the course of 12 months. This statistic can be attributed to greater volume of milk and higher fat content.

Impact on poverty

  • Women’s empowerment increased
    SDVC increased women’s empowerment by making them key players in the value chain. A study by IFPRI revealed that women’s access to and control over inputs increased significantly, and changes were emerging in community perspectives on women’s roles. On average, input shop owners made $681 per month (with men making $550 per month and women making $812 per month). The income of women shop owners was higher because they sold feed to the local community, and women farmers found it easier to interact with them. There was a 10 per cent increase in joint decisions about how to make milk sales, and a 23 per cent increase in men sharing burdens around cattle production.
  • Household income went up
    Average daily household production increased up to 22 per cent, and milk prices received by the farmers increased 12 per cent from the baseline. Average monthly income from milk sales increased from $9 to $20. Around 60 per cent of savings were invested in different dairy activities, as well as reinvested in credit within group members.
  • Resilience grew
    Farmers suffered less during political crisis, and bounced back faster. In one period of political unrest, SDVC producers saw a production drop by 3.8 per cent and were able to return to pre-crisis levels in two weeks. Non-SDVC families took seven weeks to recover, and had production fall by 7.1 per cent.

[uploaded December 2022]